Spatchcock-chicken-grill-2Ahhh, summertime. With the warm summer weather, it couldn’t be a better time to get out of the kitchen and fire up the grill to enjoy some outdoor cooking. Actually, I never put the grill away, but I certainly do enjoy grilling a lot more when it’s 78 degrees than 5 degrees.

Chicken is a perennial favorite on the grill. It’s inexpensive and crowd pleasing. Plus there are so many different grilling methods, spices, and rubs available that you can easily adapt the flavor of chicken to please just about any taste. My favorite method is grill roast an entire chicken by spatchcocking or butterflying the bird.

Spatchcock is a fancy name for cutting out the backbone of a whole chicken and flattening it. This flat, or butterflied bird will now cook on the grill about 15-20 minutes faster than a whole bird. Once cooked, the spatchcocked chicken can be easily split up into pieces or quartered or halved for larger appetites.

My secret to tasty spatchcocked chicken is to first brine it in salt/sugar solution for 2-3 hours. This adds extra moisture and flavor and helps keep the chicken from overcooking.

My method for spatchcock grilled chicken involves a short grill time over direct high heat, so the added moisture acts like a buffer to keep the chicken from drying out over the intense fire.

Spatchcock-chicken-grill-1To grill, build a charcoal fire with 20-30 briquets (a gas grill on med-high also works). Surface temp at the grill should be 400-425 degrees. You want a hot, direct fire to grill the chicken. If you hold your hand over the grill near the grate, you should get to the count of three before your hand gets too hot. Place the chicken on the grill, inside surface down first and grill for 16-18 minutes. Flip the chicken and grill the other side to 14-16 minutes. The chicken is done when the juices run clear. Once grilled, take the chicken off, cover with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. Split the chicken into pieces and enjoy.

Spatchcock Grill Roasted Chicken

  • 1 Whole Fryer chicken 3-5 pounds
  • 1/3 Cup Kosher Salt
  • 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • Olive Oil
  • Grilling Seasoning, lemon pepper, pepper, etc
  1. Spatchcock-chicken-cutting-backboneRemove the backbone from the chicken with a sharp knife or kitchen shears. Starting at the neck and cutting along both side is the easiest method.
  2. Mix salt and sugar with 3-4 cups water in a gallon freezer zipper bag. Place chicken in bag and brine in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
  3. Once brined, rinse the chicken pat dry with paper towel and rub down the chicken with olive oil and seasoning. Since the brine is plenty salty, I try to use a low salt grill seasoning or rub.
  4. Grill over hot coals in a covered grill for 16-18 minutes on the first side, flip and grill the second side 14-16 minutes. Juices should run clear when done.